According to Scott Thwaites, Head of Emerging Markets at TikTok Global Business Solutions, brands who want to be successful today and, in the future, must without question act authentically and with purpose.
Consumer behaviour is ever-changing, but several changes we have seen recently have and will alter the way brands do business and approach advertising. For one, consumers now have very high expectations for brands, especially when it comes to social, environmental and political issues. And it is these expectations that are reshaping advertising and leading brands onto a more authenticity-driven path.
Talking about the recent launch of TikTok For Business in South Africa, Thwaites said that brands who have had the most success on TikTok in other regions have embraced the creativity and authenticity of the TikTok community and used the platform to amplify their unique brand voice.
‘Having purpose and being authentic takes commitment,’ added Thwaites, ‘and it is all about leveraging technology to communicate personally and predictively. We believe TikTok For Business does just that, by opening up opportunities for advertisers to drive value and engage with one of the most active communities in the country.’
And it looks like TikTok users agree; this according to a recent Nielson study, commissioned by TikTok, to understand the value of the platform compared to other channels and explore user perceptions on content and advert authenticity.
‘The results of this study,’ said Thwaites, ‘saw TikTok ranking the highest amongst users for being more authentic, and it also revealed that users love TikTok for its unique and authentic content.’
From an advert point of view, the study states that users see TikTok as an ad-friendly environment, believing the platform to be more trustworthy, less intrusive, more creative and entertaining. Feedback of this kind bodes very well for brands wanting to live up to consumer expectations, with the rise of big data, consumers today judge brands on their ability to predict individual preferences and needs.
‘This is particularly noticeable in social media,’ said Thwaites, ‘with audiences that are more dialled-in than ever before, it’s crucial for brands to have a deep understanding of the core DNA of their own company and fully understand their target customers and their values. It’s only through this knowledge that they can truly predict consumer actions and act with authenticity.’
Just as important today is the humanisation of brands, which allows companies to share their purpose with their audiences, often seeing their consumers share their values. The rise of purposeful brands has seen advertisers addressing real issues like inclusivity and actually tailoring content to suit the individual rather than the masses.
But just as crucial are the platforms that can bring these narratives to life, and TikTok is confident that the platform has just the right formula for success, according to Thwaites.
‘TikTok For Business allows brands to connect with their customers in new and innovative ways,’ explained Thwaites.
‘Brands are given the tools to be creative storytellers and meaningfully engage with the TikTok community. They can start trends, connect communities, bring awareness to critical public service initiatives, and actually experience the impact their campaigns have on people. No other platform has users becoming so engaged and inspired by a marketing campaign, that they create their own version of it.’
So, what can the growing South African TikTok user base expect from brands now that TikTok For Business is available in the country?
‘There are currently five different ad formats available for brands to explore,’ explained Thwaites, ‘and these options have been designed for brands to open up an entirely new window of opportunity for themselves, and to create content that speaks to people and invites the community to join the conversation.’
Thwaites concluded by saying that central to the TikTok experience is the power of authenticity. He believes that through the platform brands can now see the value in being their true selves, especially as they realise consumers connect not only with what the brand stands for but also with how it makes them feel.
TikTok Take Off Launch
Cassper Nyovest opened the official virtual TikTok South Africa launch, held on 9 June.
Shant Oknayan, General Manger of Global Business Solutions METAP, said, ‘In the age of second and third screens, what if you could communicate with your audience in an uninterrupted environment and on a new level that you haven’t seen before? And through solutions that will make your audiences be part of your content, not just like or scroll past it? Creativity is how TikTok users express themselves, create trends and come together. Your brand could be part of shaping the future of entertainment on a platform that inspires creativity and brings joy to a positive community.’
‘For businesses that continue to gain momentum in their journey to recovery through this difficult year, tapping into TikTok’s infinitely joyful community is a fresh and exciting path to connect with new audiences in a way that has never been more accessible, creative, engaging and authentic,’ said Oknayan.
He added that TikTok for business encourages brands not to make ads, but to ‘make TikToks’ instead. ‘TikTok for business is committed to supercharging brands and businesses so they can show up as their most authentic selves.’
He also mentioned TikTok’s exclusive partnership with 365 Digital in South Africa. ‘Partnering with 365 Digital will open up opportunities on TikTok for businesses to drive value and engage with the most active community in South Africa – and the world – in an authentic way,’ said Oknayan.
Julian Jordaan, Managing Director, 365 Digital, said, ‘We have been positively overwhelmed by the reception of the launch of TikTok Business in South Africa, and we are excited to inspire with creativity and joy. Our objective goes beyond merely connecting brands with the world’s most engaged and fastest growing audience. We’re here to enable you to show up as your most authentic self on TikTok. And it’s when brands meet consumers in an authentic way that we see a gap bridged. This is where brands can really connect with their audiences and stay relevant and relatable.’
Jordaan said they are aware that consumers’ expectations have changed – calling brands to understand who they are, what they stand for and what they like or dislike and then showing up in the most authentic way. ‘From high relevance to inclusion and diversity, we make sure your brand voice is heard loud and clear on the platform. There are three things brands can expect from the 365 Digital team: we will partner with you, inspire you and we will equip you.’ He added that the team will take a hands-on approach for campaign strategies and will collaborate on, and craft, the best possible solution.
These are some of the questions asked about TikTok Business during the event:
1. What kind of access do agencies need to track the performance of influencers for clients?
– Brands can boost creator posts as Spark Ads, which will be managed on TikTok auction ad dashboard, which is managed by and accessible to agencies representing the brands.
2. What are Spark Ads?
– Spark Ads are in-feed ad format bought on auction to boost a sponsored creator post for views and engagements.
3. Can you track hashtag performance?
– Yes, we can track multiple metrics of branded hashtag challenges like video views, number of videos created, total engagements, engagement rates, impressions and clicks.
4. Will brands be able advertise products to be purchased directly off TikTok?
– Brands can create a storefront on our app via TikTok Collection Ads, which provide a seamless user buying journey from the storefront to the product and checkout page on a brand’s website.
5. How accessible will campaign performance data be available to analysts? Will ‘public data’ be available via API’s?
– No, data is all encrypted and hashed and only the admin manager of the TikTok ad account dashboard would have access.
6. Will we be able to do a split test on the platform in case a client requests us to see how audiences react to certain content and push the winning one?
– Yes. You can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
7. Will there be a direct message feature for brands where page managers are able to engage with an audience?
– Yes. Brands can also set automatic reply messages that are triggered to send based on pre-determined criteria.
8. Are all brands allowed to advertise on TikTok?
– You can refer to this link for all approved industries (scroll down for localised policies).